GPF News Archive

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The following news item stems from way back before we started keeping the News Archive (January 2004) and was resurrected from the Wayback Machine by showler from the forums. Because of its age, many of the links may no longer have relevance, but we thought it would be interesting to include it here in the Archive for nostalgia's sake. Also note that there may well have been many news items between this one and the items archived around it, but these are lost to history. At any rate, this provides an interesting glimpse back at the comic and the site, providing us a snapshot of what the comic was like "back in the day" before many of you first discovered it.

Another Quick Update: Just an FYI, gang. Keenspot is receiving some new targeted banner ads soon, which are offering really awesome click-thru rates (upwards of $4-$6 USD CPM; if you know anything about ad rates, you'll know that's downright awesome). If the advertiser and the ad company get a great response from this, that means Keenspot may get more targeted ads, and thus better ad revenue, and thus can actually keep operating for another month.

Here's where you come in. If you see any ads on any Keenspot site from "Skotos.Net" or advertising some RPGs, please take a moment to click on the ad. If you don't want to lose your place, you can right-click (click-and-hold on a Mac, IIRC) the banner and choose "Open in a new window" from the pop-up menu. The banners are actually pretty spiffy looking (a real change for banner ads), but they might be easy to miss, since they aren't flashing or something annoying like that.

I know nobody likes banner ads, but right now they're our primary mode of survival. If we can show the ad companies that well-designed non-pop-up ads can actually generate a response, it might improve our chances of better ad rates and reduce the number of pop-ups and pop-unders we're forced to endure. So please take a moment to let your voice as a Web surfer and loyal GPF fan be heard. Thanks.

Quick Update: A lot of you have told me I have a knack for balancing several story lines running at once. Well, the story that starts today is an interesting experiment, where I'll try to put that claim to the test. Expect a lot of jumping around between plots. I think I did pretty well with this story, but as usual, you guys will be a better judge of that than I. :)

Greetings, gang. There's not much to tell you about this week in the way of official news, but I thought I'd take the opportunity to share a sneak preview of our upcoming fourth year. By now, you've probably noticed that funky black box on the main page that says "Surreptitious Machinations: The madness begins in so many days..." Well, here's your chance to find out some of what that madness is all about.

Since GPF began back in November of 1998, we've seen lots of plots and subplots surface, winding in, out, and through each other. For three years, we've watched our six primary characters grow and change, while bringing tons of new and bizarre friends and enemies into their lives. We've seen their triumphs and pain, their joy and their sorrow. And, as always, we've had quite a few laughs along the way at their expense. Year Four will be no different in that respect. But it will be a brand new challenge, both to me as the strip's creator and you as my loyal readers.

Starting November 4th, we will begin an exciting new story line called "Surreptitious Machinations." The primary focus of the story is Trudy's master plan... for herself, for her coworkers, and for the entire world. For three years, we've hinted at what she's been up to, where she's going, and who she's doing it with. Now, finally, everything will come to resolution as Trudy's plans are revealed and the consequences of those actions become evident. The tale is bold, complex, and exciting, tying up dozens of loose ends (while, in true GPF fashion, surely starting quite a few more). What is Trudy's hidden designs for Nick? Why is she so vicious to Ki and Fooker? What about her involvement with C.R.U.D.E.? Who are the Gamester and Mischief, and what do they have to do with this?

The real challenge about this story is its length. Right now, the current plan is to devote the entire Year Four time frame to this one story. As the script goes from a rough outline to individual strips, that length may grow or shrink, but I'd say it's a safe bet that the story will indeed take a full year to complete. Before some of you start moaning and groaning (especially those who complained about the length of our "Special Delivery" story line), the flow of the story will be much like this year's strips, where broad sections of related stories hooked into a running background tale that kept building and building. The action, drama, and—yes, it's still in there—humor will switch from subplot to subplot often, keeping us engaged in intricate details while the grander story unfolds. However, this grander tale now gains a greater focus as the cast endures their greatest challenge yet, as lines are drawn and sides are chosen. All the threads will be woven into a greater tapestry which, if I can pull it off, will become the greatest, funniest, and most exciting GPF story ever.

By now, I'm sure I've gotten quite a few of you nervous. :) Trust me, I don't mean to, but judging from the response I've received from some of my other "experiments," I already know there's a few of you out there getting ready to edit your browser's bookmarks. "Why are you changing GPF?" you'll ask. "We like the strip the way it was!" Well, truth be told, in my mind I'm not changing the strip, but completing it. I'm taking it to the level it was originally intended to be. My strip has always been an experiment, from the earliest days when I threw it up on the Web to see if anyone would read it, to the complex, character-driven geekfest it is today. I've experimented with hard-core geek fare, slapstick, parody, drama, action, cerebral ribbing, and (as the current story goes) baser titillation. And thus far, you've all been with me, sharing the fun. Take my world for it: the "old GPF" hasn't gone—and isn't going—anywhere. It's been here all along, it's going to be here until the cows come home, and it's growing into what I think is an exciting, thought-provoking entertainment medium with a lot more life in it than in the beginning.

But for those who are nervous, let me give you some words of encouragement. First of all (and this is always what seems to worry folks the most), there's an awful lot of humor in "Surreptitious Machinations." While the beginning is geared a little more on the action side (as is the ending), it's chock full of some of the best jokes I think I've ever written, including quite a few that would never have happened if this story didn't take place. There's a couple hilarious and very geeky movie parodies included, as well as some general riffs of some classic science fiction staples. (Yep, there's a bit of a sci-fi slant to this tale, but if you guys can accept talking slime molds and time machines, I think you'll like it. :)

Secondly, as always, the characters are the primary focus of the strip. The story won't be filled with Perl and Linux jokes (although that's not to say there won't be any tech jokes). In my opinion, there are a lot of other comics out there that are far better at tech jokes than I am. But we'll definitely be sticking to our true focus: the characters. I've always stressed that the strip isn't about hardware and software, but about the people behind them. It's not just for geeks by a geek, but it's about geeks. Strange things happen to geeks, both online and off, and that's what we've always centered on. "Surreptitious Machinations" will be no different.

By now, I hope I've whetted your appetite instead of making you flee in terror. The sound of chirping crickets should confirm this. In the meantime, I strongly encourage our newer readers to go back and read the Archives thoroughly. Our regular readers might benefit from a refresher or two themselves, because this November's story builds on virtually everything that's already happened in the strip... including some of the smallest details you thought would never resurface! The number of back references and reoccurring characters will be staggering in this one, so an in-depth knowledge of what's already happened will be a must. Some critical stories to check back on will include Nerdvana, The Brotherhood of the Twisted Pair, Prof. Wisebottom's Time Machine, The Date, Interlude: Trudy's Phone Call, Secret Agent Geek, Rude, CRUDE, and Socially Unacceptable, the current story line (the title will be revealed next week), and many, many more.

More previews to come, as well as news about our third book and other projects. Until then, here's our usual extras:

  • The "Red Ink" Sunday strip is now available as a limited-edition print from Plan Nine. The print is $15 USD, and all profits—both mine and Plan Nine's—will be donated to the American Red Cross to help in disaster relief efforts in New York and Washington, D.C. Follow this link to see all three disaster relief prints available, including the two previously offered by Pete Abrams and Illiad. We are still planning on auctioning off the original strip; more details in the next few days.
  • Because he's a sadistic glutton for punishment, the Indigo Wombat (Marsupial of Might, of course) has taken it upon himself to create the GPF Statistics Page! Make sure to check it out and lend him support in debugging and maintaining it.
  • The GPF Tip Jar is now online, by popular demand. If you feel the need to tip the ol' artist, you can now do so through PayPal or Amazon.Com. This service is completely voluntary and without obligation.
  • Don't forget that both of our GPF books are out there, selling like hotcakes, at Plan Nine. You can also get the Plan Nine 2000 Christmas Annual, which is finally on sale.
  • Plan Nine has just picked up an official Canadian distributor to officially handle books sales (GPF and other titles) in Canada. This will hopefully reduce shipping fees significantly, which has been the biggest problem for our Northern Neighbors when buying our books. Their Web site is finally online: If you feel like talking to a live human, you can also order by calling 780-430-9062.
  • Are you a Perl hacker with a little free time? Then help out the KBB crew! A group of Keenspot fans (including some loyal Faulties) are fed up with the unreliable, buggy Ultimate Bulletin Board (UBB) scripts that Keenspot uses for it's message boards, and they're taking matters into their own hands. If you have some Perl knowledge and want to help out, check out the Keen Bulletin Board home page for more information.
  • As always, feel free to let me know what you think of the site and the strip either through the GPF Message Boards, our new IRC channel, or drop me a line.

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